The life of an ordinary watch on the wrist of an average carrier takes place between desk and sofa. But other challenges waiting for some clock-they dive to great depths, or left even our Earth’s atmosphere. The first watch on the moon-which boasts the Omega Speedmaster. “The first watch worn on the moon” adorns the bottom of many Speedmaster models as engraving. For the normal watch wearer at least a small air space on his own wrist.
A clock is connected – to this day especially the aerospace: the Omega Speedmaster professional. Their first mission in space takes place at first without the knowledge of the manufacturer or the NASA. On the third of October 1962 the astronaut Walter Schirra takes the second edition of the chronograph on the Mission of “Mercury-Atlas 8”. The clock was used as a backup to the existing clock – there were no special tests in advance, the a man crew of the capsule was not yet available for walks.
At that time the Speedmaster, there are already some years: 1957, the sporty Chronograph on the market-is initially intended for all fast sports and sporty watch makers. Speed – speed should be controlled and measured. Therefore, the clock since then carries a tachymeter bezel, with which the speed can be measured.While Walter Schirra in 1962 already anticipates the decision of NASA, 1962 two employees of NASA into different local jewelry stores in Houston, Texas. You seem like a normal watch buyer and are especially interested in sporty chronograph hand-wound. What watches cannot see down: you will go through the world’s hardest test program and qualify it. It’s about a walk on the Moon, NASA is planning.
Hot the following missions of NASA Gemini and Apollo, and for the first time also a shore leave is planned, which will carry the astronauts from the space shuttle.The conditions are more than inhospitable – temperature variations of more than 100 degrees Celsius are expected between sunlight and shadow. Watches Elgin, Benrus, Hamilton, Mido, Piccard, Omega, Bulova, Rolex, Longines and green find their way into the first test series of the national space agency of the United States.Several of the candidates get out already in the first set of tests and are catapulted by defects from the race to the Moon – only three chronograph prevail in the final series of tests: Rolex, Longines and Omega.
Winner in the second round
To do this, NASA orders two Speedmaster models for the second series of tests – even harder – on September 29, 1964. In addition to the caliber 321 – the design was designed in 1946 by Albert Piguet – that is Rolex with the Valjoux 72, in the Longines calibre 13 ZN is used. The upcoming tests are hard: in addition to high temperature tests up to 100 degrees Celsius the watches also frosty hours looming, up to minus 18 degrees, as well as various tests with fluctuating air pressure and different air humidity. The shock tests, where the clocks were exposed to up to 40 G are particularly hard. Six of these shocks with a duration of each 11 milliseconds must survive the clocks, as well a linear acceleration by a 7.25 G on 333 seconds – a typical startup situation for a moon rocket. The vibration behaviour was examined as well as the response to acoustic loads. The three final Chronographs are used with up to 10,000 hertz.
There can be only one: the Speedmaster WINS
The first March 1965 puts the decision in the form of extensive evaluation of the NASA test team. Some test clock – the respective manufacturer are not known-disintegrated into several parts, through the trials of heat, the pointer is deformed, watch glasses left their safe seat – and a clock only resistance. At the end it is established: the Omega Speedmaster belongs now to the solid equipment of crews of all manned space flights, first are the three participants of the Gemini Titan III-mission clocks equipped with. While the accuracy, the reliability and the ease of use will be emphasized. But that finds itself later Omega – in June 1965, staff see the clock as part of the Gemini 4 Mission in an illustration on the wrist by Edward White.
A walk on the Moon
The Omega Speedmaster not free bears their nickname “Moonwatch”. She is “flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions”, as inscribed first she changes on July 20, 1969 just before three o’clock in the night according to GMT time setting.On the arm of Neil Armstrong leaves the Speedmaster the space shuttle, making it the first watch on the Moon – “the first watch worn on the moon”. The former first moon watch is equipped with the serial number 046, today in the Museum of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to marvel at. The other crew members wore the “MooNiE”, like the Speedmaster Professional is also often referred to as.
Over the years, the Speedmaster by Omega has experienced some changes – but the classic model of the Speedmaster professional belongs to the collection: as integral part. Equipped today with the chronograph movement Omega 1861, based on the with hand-wound movement Nouvelle Lémania 1873 the watch is similar to the historic original – to the Hesalith glass, which protects especially due to its impact resistance. But also classic buyers get good stuff at some fair prices on the market – well-preserved models are available for 2,500 euros and some date back to the 60s.For the authentic feeling of the Moon quite a reasonable starting price. Even defective copies be put on front man Omega-service – cost of which can be but also around 1,000 euros. The stretch in the bracelets is typical of old models – the folded Ribbon pieces have voltage losses.
A myth is reality
In April 1970, the Omega Speedmaster is once again honored by NASA and receives the Snoopy award, the highest award of the world’s first astronaut. The Apollo 13 mission should be a crucial step for NASA – until one of the astronauts was a problem on the Earth. “Okay, Houston, we ve had a problem here” are the first words of John Swigert after the explosion of an oxygen tank. The return flight from the orbit is complicated, with several instruments by collateral damage have failed. However, the Omega Speedmaster served its purpose and is used as a navigational aid for the crew of the capsule, which returns safely to Earth.
In 1978, it decides to check clocks for use in space, NASA again. Again, wins the Omega Speedmaster and is chosen as the official watch for the space shuttle program. At the end of the 90s the Speedmaster is modern and discovered the multi function in space: with the X-33 the digital and analog display feeds on the dial. The Russian space station Mir is chosen as a test laboratory for the chronograph to ME – the X-33 is used by NASA and the Russian Roscosmos declared airworthy. Until today but just a watch with an official blessing in the space ship must go: the Omega Speedmaster professional hand-wound. Versions extend the range of the Speedmaster collection with automatic movement for several decades. On the one hand models with Valjoux provided even the moon phase 7750 and 7751 – but real Moonwatch friends not accepted these watches. Accordingly, the prices are cheap – these models are considerably less than 2,000 euros from the 90’s and later. The Speedmaster “Reduced” 2890 can await you with a caliber of module on the basis of the ETA is also cheap and virtually authentic in a smaller case with Hesalithglas. With a little luck the entry prices are used models under 1,000 euros. With special series, Omega paid respect always also the original purpose of the Watch: speed and its measurement. With a special series for Omega brand Ambassador Michael Schumacher racing intruded massively. Red or yellow dials demonstrated dynamic and distance to the moon. For 1,500 euros, well-preserved models in this series are to get – why because the Moon fly, when you can fly even on the ground?